Christina Alexander is Vice-President, Derivatives and Structured Products at Citibank Canada and a student in our Rotman Master of Finance program for finance working professionals. Demanding schedules are the norm for her and her peers in the finance industry.
We asked her to walk us through her regular work day and share about her experience as a working professional studying for her MFin.
6:00 am – 8:00 am. Typically, I’m awake between 6:00 am and 6:30 am. I head to work with the goal of being in my seat anywhere from 7:00 am to 8:00 am. “Breakfast” (aka coffee) takes place at my desk while I catch up on overnight news, and plan my day before the market opens.
8:00 am – 5:30 pm. The work day is unpredictable; it is usually a mixed bag of conference calls, meetings, watching the market, pricing and executing transactions, or working on new ideas and presentation materials for client meetings. I generally eat lunch at my desk unless I am taking out a client or have other commitments.
It’s hard not to think about the Master of Finance during the work day as it naturally fits in with my daily conversations with colleagues and clients. For example, I recently pitched a complicated hedging strategy to the Treasurer of a company. While she liked the idea, she needed to run it by her accounting team to understand how it may impact the company’s cash flow and leverage ratios. I wasn’t able to give her the perfect answer, but I was able to give her some preliminary thoughts, and more importantly, I had a good appreciation for her concerns.
5:30 pm. My team at work knows that I have class every Wednesday evening, and I try to start wrapping things up at 5:30 pm to make sure I’m on time for class at 6:15pm. Otherwise, unexpected things could come up and I could be stuck in the office forever!
Usually I receive a comment or two on the way out such as, “Wow, I forget Wednesdays are extra-long for you.” Or, my co-workers want to ask me about what the night’s class topic will be – so I have to budget extra time for this. Additionally, we often have visits from our senior management in New York, as well as client entertainment in the evenings. Sometimes getting to class for 6:15 pm is not always so smooth; I have now perfected the art of popping into a social event, saying hello to everyone for a short period of time before politely excusing myself, and then finding a cab to dash to the Rotman campus.
6:15 pm – 9:30 pm. Class time! We also have a break for dinner where our entire class eats together; this is a great time to catch up with my classmates.
On an average day, I will leave campus right at 9:30 pm, with a couple exceptions: 1. As the program has a fair bit of group work, sometimes my group will meet briefly after class to make sure we are on track for our projects, and 2. If we’ve just written a final exam, our class may pop over to the pub for a celebratory drink!
9:45 pm – 11:00 pm. This is when I decompress and prepare for the next day. Hopefully I don’t have to pack and be up extra early for a flight to Calgary or Vancouver. Other times, if I have upcoming client meetings, I may spend some time preparing for those presentations. In any case, I try to get to sleep by 11:00 pm.
Thank you for sharing, Christina!
Christina exemplifies our Rotman Master of Finance students who have challenging, full-time finance careers, and who also attend classes part-time. Designed with busy finance working professionals in mind, the MFin program at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto has classes only every Wednesday evening and full days every other Saturday.